Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl, the DS-to-Switch remakes and latest releases in the series, are once again designed to be great first Pokemon games. But the thing about that? There are dozens of great first Pokemon games at this point. There’s been a bit of effort to offer something beyond that in postgame content of recent entries. Which is great! But it’s never quite enough, and it’s usually built around a competitive multiplayer scene that — while interesting on its own — just doesn’t have the same appeal as the solo-focused campaign.
What we need, then, is a sequel. A true sequel, in gameplay and not just plot.
Pokemon League Manager, as we’ve come to call the idea, picks up right where each game’s story generally wraps. You’re the Pokemon League Champion! Congratulations. As such a strong and knowledgeable trainer, you’re tapped to start a new League in a small but growing region.
As manager of the new League, it’d be your job to scout and install Gym Leaders. These would just be normal trainers with six-member teams, but as a Gym Leader, they could only use a subset of the team that shares a type. Each Gym would need a different type, and locations would scale in level so new challengers would have a logical path like traditional games.
You’d also serve as its Champion. Any trainers that fought their way through the Gyms and Elite Four will be strong, and if you’re beaten, you’d have to fight through your own Elite Four and defeat them to take your title back. Any beaten challengers, though, could serve as candidates for the Elite Four themselves. It would likely take a long time for a strong competitor to make it through, but this high-level challenge would serve as a postgame of sorts for a game that wouldn’t end.
Why is Pokemon League Manager a cool idea? Because it opens up so many possibilities for exploring Pokemon’s creatures and battle systems. To essentially cultivate strong Fire-type candidates? You could install Grass, Ice, Bug, and Steel leaders, and more trainers would catch and train them along the way. Want them to specifically use Arcanine? Make sure those Gyms are in towns nearby Growlithe habitats.
It could also have just a splash of Crusader Kings. You could advise Gym Leaders, adjust the training in their own gyms and even contribute an Egg to help fill a gap in their teams! But some would be more temperamental. Others would want promotions to a bigger town. And if one gets too strong, they may challenge you themselves.
The idea of a new region also allows for a lot of creativity. You could customize towns and routes. You could invest time and resources into a town until it’s a city, opening up more options. If you want, you could also get some fun color schemes going. We’re not talking New Horizons-level customization here, but even within a structure, it could be fun.
And hey, if you wanted? You could challenge someone else’s world! The game would essentially function as its own Pokemon Maker. Friends who play through your Pokemon League could be installed as AI-controlled Elite Four members, too, so there’d be incentive to find some friends and work together through others’ gyms.
Pokemon has already taken the smallest of baby steps toward an idea like this. Secret Bases were sort of like setting up gyms. Post-game challenges were kinda high-level trainer fights. Sword and Shield’s rental teams were essentially a way to cooperate and learn from others’ strategies in your own game.
But still, unless you’re truly out to catch ‘em all or bury yourself in the competitive metagame, Pokemon games are fleeting and increasingly without a strategic bite. Pokemon League Manager would solve that handily.
What new Pokemon game would you like to see? What do you think of the League Manager idea? Sound off in the comments.